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Face-to-Face Coaching v. Remote Coaching: How to Dispel the Belief That it is Different

Many of us are currently working remotely, so let’s take a moment to dispel a current belief around coaching remotely. Some people think, “that it is done differently.” While the format has changed from face-to-face coaching to using something such as Zoom, FaceTime or a phone call, the process and skills have not changed.

First, coaching is not something you can just wake up one day and decide to start doing because we are now forced into working remotely. It is essential that you follow a process of mutual understanding of what a coaching relationship is and is not, establish and maintain a coaching agreement and develop an initial level of trust that you can build upon. The skills required in coaching regardless of it being face-to-face or virtually remain the same. These skills include:

  • Creating a safe space for conversation

  • A focus on learning

  • Being fully present

  • The coach asking curious, open questions

  • The coach facilitating awareness and development of the person being coached

In today’s workplace, whether you are a small business or large organization, creating a coaching culture and offering coaching to employees has become essential. The professional coaching that was once offered only at the C-suite level has expanded and this democratization of coaching has two results:

  1. More employees receiving coaching from external coaches

  2. The need to teach managers and leaders proper and effective coaching skills

Effective managers are the key to any organization succeeding in today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment. Professional coaching can bring a competitive edge to your organization when performed correctly and improve the quality of development conversations between managers and direct reports. During my work in teaching the coaching approach to managers, I've had several instances where organizations are elevating employee engagement and retention by developing relationships between managers and employees that may not otherwise have existed. When I am performing the professional coaching myself, employees are experiencing greater self-awareness and using their insights to shift mindsets and behaviors. In both cases there is a strong feeling of support and encouragement.

As more organizations discover that coaching has many benefits and is proven to develop and retain employees, the number of people claiming to be a qualified coach to provide professional coaching or teach the skills needed for using a coaching approach will continue to grow. It’s important to find the right person for your needs and requirements. This means it will take some research on your part to find a coach who is well-prepared, qualified, as well as credible.

Tips to help you find a credible coach

  1. Take the time to become educated about what coaching is and is not. (

  2. Reflect on your goals and what you hope to achieve related to coaching in your organization.

  3. Consider interviewing three certified and/or credentialed coaches before deciding. I would highly recommend ICF credentialed coaches whether you are hiring a professional coach or someone to help you teach the coaching approaching to others.

  4. Confirm your coach’s credibility – this is best accomplished by confirming ICF Membership and/or a Credential. This helps you distinguish between trained practitioners with strong ethical code of conduct and well-defined competency model and the untrained individuals who call themselves coaches.

  5. Establish high standards for your professional coach practitioner(s) as their training, knowledge and experience will help you understand and manage the benefits and challenges of bringing coaching to your organization.

Please let me know if you have comments or questions. Be safe. Stay healthy.

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